Minister for Courts and Legal Aid to give evidence to Lords Committee examining public inquiries legislation

10 December 2013


Shailesh Vara, MP, Minister for Courts and Legal Aid, will tomorrow give evidence to the Lords Committee investigating public inquiry legislation.

On Wednesday 11 December he will be joined by two officials from the Ministry of Justice to answer questions put by the House of Lords Committee on the Inquiries Act 2005.

The Lords Committee is investigating how well the Inquiries Act 2005 ensures that public inquiries are carried out as effectively and thoroughly as possible.

Shailesh Vara will be asked what criteria the Government applies in deciding when to set up an inquiry and whether or not too much power resides with ministers in relation to the creation and oversight of inquiries.

In the inquiry’s final evidence session, he will also answer other questions, such as:

  • What criteria do ministers apply in deciding whether to hold a public inquiry in any particular circumstances?
  • Does this Government intend to retain the option of setting up non-statutory inquiries?
  • Are there any criteria or guidance used for the selection of inquiry chairs?
  • Where an inquiry is set up following a public campaign, would it not be helpful to consult leaders of that campaign about the draft terms of reference?
  • Should a unit in the Ministry of Justice be responsible for retaining and sharing best practice with regard to the setting up and administration of new inquiries?
  • What more could the Government do to persuade the public that it is giving full consideration to an inquiry’s recommendations.

The evidence session will start at 10.40am on Wednesday 11 December in Committee Room 4 of the House of Lords.

The session will be webcast at www.parliamentlive.tv and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament’s Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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